Building a Co-op Model E3 Replica

Wisconsin craftsman builds flawless CO-OP Model E3 replica

| April 2012

Remember those days when you were road farming and noted a neighbor’s straight cornrows? Some farmers got them perfectly straight, even before GPS existed. Those same farmers were probably particular about all phases of their farming operation. Bob Anderson is like that. Whether planting corn, managing the milking cows or working on machinery, Bob’s skillful touch always shows through. Now retired, Bob applies that same precision in the workshop. His latest creation is a 1/2-scale CO-OP Model E3 tractor, built to perfection.

Glimmer of an idea

Bob and his wife, Louise, live in Chetek, Wis., in the northwest part of the state. For years, Bob worked the fields and milked cows. But his heart was in shop work. The Andersons typically repaired their own tractors and built what they needed. “We built manure spreaders on trucks for ourselves and several neighbors,” Bob recalls.

In later years, he started a business constructing vis-a-vis horse-drawn carriages (also known as “vice versa” carriages, as the front seat faces back and the back seat faces forward). “In two years we probably built 150 of these, all uniquely outfitted,” Bob says.

When the Andersons left the farm in 1985, Bob began working in his shop full time. His creations include 50 pedal cars, 100 sleds and 20 scale versions of the Cretors popcorn wagon. He also constructed 20 horse-drawn wagons, full-size and scale models. “I’ve built a lot of things since moving off the farm,” he says. “I always liked tractors, but I hadn’t built a replica.”

Bob’s interest in farm equipment goes back to his childhood on the farm. “My folks had a Farmall Model H and an Allis-Chalmers Model C on steel,” he says. “I was probably 7 years old when I drove the Farmall H the first time. It was probably a few years later before I drove the old Allis-Chalmers C. During our farming years, Louise and I worked with Cockshutt, Oliver and some Allis-Chalmers equipment.”

As time passed, Bob’s interest in a scale-model tractor project intensified.“The thought of building a scale version of a tractor stayed in my mind,” he says. “I mulled over several ideas.” Eventually, Cockshutt won out. “We farmed with Cockshutt,” he says, “so I decided to build a 1/2-scale version of the CO-OP Model E3 built by Cockshutt.”